This take may be a few days late but talking with some friends over the weekend I realized that my interest in this years Olympic coverage was colored by my misgivings about the current U.S. role in the world. Everytime a U.S. athlete won a medal and reached for an American flag to drape themselves, I found it very uncomfortable. Now I am no America hater - I love this country, but while we are fighting this "War on Terra" spreading democracy by force, it is difficult to mesh that with the true Olympic Message of peace through athletic competition. Now add to that the incredible arrogance of U.S. poster boy Bode Miller. NBC hyped this guy to the hilt only to watch him fail miserably then act like he couldn't care less. For me these games were hard to watch.
There were a few bright spots - examples of unsung U.S. athletes rising to the occasion and performing at their best. But, the lasting image of the games for me was a performance in the women's snowboard cross. An event described as NASCAR on snow - a full contact race to the finish line. Lindsey Jacobellis battled her way through preliminary races aggressively avoiding contact. Then in the finals she jumped quickly to the front of the pack with flawless technique propelling her to a huge lead as she approached the finish line. But a sure gold medal slipped from her grasp because she attempted a "hot dog" "show off "move over the last jump. She celebrated too early causing her to fail miserably. Jacobellis was passed for the gold medal then compounded her poor judgment by trying to explain her blunder with a lame excuse about wind conditions.
At that moment I couldn't help but wonder what, as a nation, we've been teaching our kids? Have we set the example that it is more about style than substance and when you make a mistake excuses and fibs are the acceptable way of answering for your actions.
Gee, where would Lindsey Jacobellis get an idea like that?